SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Southwest Minnesota State kept its season alive tonight earning a 68-45 victory over Wayne State in the quarterfinals of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon.
@SMSU (19-11), the No. 3 seed in the South Division, will now face top-seeded Minnesota State (27-4) tomorrow night in the semifinals starting at 8:30. MSU, the NSIC regular season champion, has defeated SMSU twice this season.
@WSC, the No. 7 seed in the South, ends its season with a record of 9-19. WSC advanced to tonight's game following an upset over the No. 2 seed in the North, Bemidji State on Wednesday night.
@SMSU, which never trailed in the game, was led by Vinard Birch and Shaun Condon, who both scored 16 points, while William Giddings added 15 points. Mitch Weg grabbed a game-high six rebounds to pace the Mustangs.
@The Mustangs finished the game shooting 41 percent (21 of 51), including 5 of 18 from 3-point range. SMSU made 21 of 22 free throws, held a 34-27 rebound advantage and committed just nine turnovers, including just three in the second half.
@The Wildcats ended the night shooting 34 percent (16 of 47) from the field, including 3 of 15 from 3-point range. WSC committed 15 turnovers, which lead to SMSU recording a 20-6 scoring advantage on points off of turnovers.
@SMSU jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the game's first two minutes behind field goals by Birch and Zager and a 3-pointer from Giddings. Following a field goal by WSC's Ryan Rolfzen, SMSU countered with a 13-5 run in the next three minutes and 43 seconds capped by back-to-back layups by Zager and Birch to push the lead to 20-9 at the 11:57 mark.
@SMSU maintained a 29-19 lead with 2:37 remaining before the Mustangs closed the half with a 7-2 run closed by a Birch layup with seven seconds left to give SMSU a 36-21 halftime lead.
@Birch paced the Mustangs with 14 points in the first half making 6 of 7 field goals. SMSU shot 52 percent in the half, held a 19-12 rebound advantage and limited WSC to 29 percent shooting.
@SMSU pushed the lead to 43-25 early in the second half behind a monster dunk from Giddings and a 3-pointer by Condon with 16 minutes left in the game. The Mustangs then built a 58-34 advantage with nine minutes left following a 3-pointer by Joey Bartlett and the lead never dipped below 17 points the remainder of the game.
@Adol Aluong led Wayne State with 13 points.